Pretty much everyone dreams of winning the lottery. Even those that choose not to play it will still have had fantasies about what they’d do with the winnings after having seen the rollover jackpots advertises in shops. The idea of coming into huge amounts of money is something that everyone can understand, with the lottery providing one of the best routes for that to happen in most people’s lives. The problem is, not everyone has the mentality to deal with such a huge shift in their fortunes, so they struggle to cope with the change.
For some, winning the lottery was little more than a chance to extend how they were already living their lives, carrying on in the same vein but with more money with which to do it. The lottery was only ‘life-changing’ insomuch as it allowed them to take their excesses to a whole new level. To those looking from the outside in, this might seem like a complete waste of an opportunity to get out of the doldrums and into a more stable life. For those living it, though, it might well have been a brilliant blowout that they don’t regret.
If you’re writing a piece about the most famous lottery winners who behaved appallingly, there is no other place to start than with the man who originated the ‘Lotto Lout’ tag in the first place, Michael Carroll.
Born in the market town of Swaffham in Norfolk, Carroll grew up as the son of a mother who worked in a canning factory and a father who was an engineer in the Royal Air Force. His father got into a fight when Carroll was 18 months old, stabbing a couple at a dance before being sent to military prison for 11 years.
When he was seven, his parents separated and his dad died three years later. He endured several stepfathers, one of whom would beat him and then lock him in a room for hours. Suffering from ADHD and dyslexia, Carroll says he was illiterate by the time he completed his secondary school education. All of it clearly influenced Carroll’s behaviour, who was given a custodial sentence when he was 13 for shoplifting. He got a job as a bin man, which was what he was working as in November of 2002 when he won the lottery.
After winning £9,736,131, Carroll said that he would be disciplined in his spending. His dream was to buy a three-bedroom house by a lake, in which he would go fishing. He invested as much as £1 million in Rangers Financial Management, which was associated with his favourite football club, Rangers. He set up an investment bond, which was designed to pay him a regular amount to live off. Having been generous with money to family and friends, including giving his mum and his aunt £1 million each, he soon started living off the bond.
Catapults Steel Balls
In 2005, Carroll was found guilty of catapulting steel balls from a Mercedes van in Downham Market, where he was living at the time, breaking the windows in 32 cars and numerous shops. He was given an ASBO as a result, also being sentenced to 240 hours of community service and warned that he’d go to jail if he didn’t obey the rules of his Anti-Social Behaviour Order. He was indeed sent to jail in February of 2006, serving nine months for affray. When he was sentenced, it was noted that he had 42 previous offences on record, dating back to 1997.
Blows All His Money
The BBC produced a report on Carroll in 2006, saying that he’d spent virtually all of his money on jewellery, cars, drugs and parties, as well as new homes. He denied that he had no money left, but in May of 2010 he applied for his old job as a bin man and said that he had no regrets about the way that he’d spent his lottery winnings. Having been the victim of a blackmail scam, in which he paid the people blackmailing him £130,000, it is perhaps fair to say that life didn’t turn out quite the way that Carroll would have been dreaming.
Perhaps there is something about winning the lottery in the United Kingdom that means that you go off the rails when you’re unprepared for your fortune. When Callie Rogers became the country’s youngest lottery winner at the age of 16, she had similar dreams to Michael Carroll.
16 Year Old Wins £1.8 Million
Having won £1.8 million, she promised that she’d keep most of the money, simply buying herself a normal car and a new house. What followed, however, was a release of excitement that saw her blow huge amounts of money in easy fashion.
Plastic Surgery & Drugs
As well as doing lots of drugs, Rogers also got plastic surgery and became almost unrecognisable to most thanks to three breast-enhancement surgeries. Having been earning just £3.60 as checkout girl, she had not developed a good sense of what to do with her money. The result was that she spent £300,000 on designer clothes, enjoyed drug-fuelled parties and gave about half a million pound to friends and family. On top of the money spent on parties and drugs, Rogers has had four children and suffered several assaults.
She was issued with a driving ban after crashing her 4×4 whilst high on cocaine and drunk, with police needing to use a pepper spray-like compound on her to subdue her. Despite winning the money in 2003, it emerged in court that she was claiming Universal Credit in order to help her pay her bills. In addition to being given a 22-month driving ban, Rogers had to wear an electronic tag for 11 weeks and obey a nighttime curfew. Despite telling Closer magazine that she was ‘stronger’, she continued to struggle with the money that came into her life.
Jokes about the name of the man who won $3.1 million on the lottery in 1989 would be easy to make, but his story is a tragic one. The man from Lansing, Michigan in the United States of America won the Super Lotto draw in June of 1989. People that knew him were delighted for him, given his status as a family man with a wife and three children. Deciding to collect his winnings in annual payments, Hurt received $156,000 every year. A life-changing amount to get once in a lump sum, let alone every 12 months or so.
Addiction to Crack Cocaine
Within two years of seeing his numbers come in in the lottery, he was separated from his wife and the pair were going through divorce proceedings. That was, at least in part, due to the fact that he had developed an addiction to crack cocaine. By the September of 1991, he was not only suffering from addiction but had lost all of his money from the payouts that he’d received up to that point. Not only that, but things were about to get much worse for Hurt when he was staying at the Burkewood Inn and was joined by a woman for part of his stay.
Murders New Girlfriend
The woman was a 30-year-old called Wendy Elizabeth Kimmey, with the pair engaging in a drug and alcohol fulled time over two days. Their disagreements were so loud that they disturbed other couples in the hotel. Sadly, the disagreements turned tragic when Hurt got angry that there was no more cocaine for them to use. As a result, he shot Kimmey in the head, killing her. Hurt turned himself into police, with his lawyer trying to paint him in a sympathetic light on account of the divorce and his drug addiction.
Continues to Receive Payment from a Jail Cell
Though Hurt signed a confession, he couldn’t remember doing so when his trial came around. As a result, the judge ordered that he undergo psychiatric evaluation. The only thing we know about the lottery winnings is that lottery officials in Michigan said that he’d continue to receive his payments even if he ended up being convicted of the crime. Wille Hurt is something of a cautionary tale for lottery winners, with the manner in which his life apart all too common a story for plenty of people that can’t handle the change that vast wealth brings.
David Lee Edward
When people win the lottery, one of the first things that they do is either receive or seek advice from those that understand finances. That is exactly what David Lee Edward did when he won $27 million on the PowerBall. There were others that had also won the jackpot, so he had to share the $280 million that was actually available in August of 2001. A convicted felon from the Ashland area of Kentucky, he and his wife decided to splash the cash in a big way. Not only did he buy a mansion in a dated community and loads of expensive cars, he even bought a LearJet.
Drug Addiction Leads to Hepatitis
Sadly, he and his wife Shawna turned to drugs, soon becoming addicted. The free-spending nature of the pair meant that the money had run out within five years. As a result, they ended up living in a storage unit that was contaminated with human faeces. For her part, Shawna managed to leave him and re-marry. Having shared his time between Florida and Kentucky, using the LearJet to get between homes, he ended up being driven back to his Ashland home by his first wife and her new husband. Edwards and Shawna contracted hepatitis from their needle use.
Died in a Hospice Aged 58
Having been arrested multiple times, he had lost every penny of his fortune by 2006. All of which came after he initially promised that he’d use the money responsibly. As with so many others, however, he fell off that path and instead spent the money poorly. The financial advisor that he contacted early on after his win later said that if he’d listened to his advice then he would have been earning ‘$85,000 a month for the rest of his life’. Instead, he died in a hospice at the age of 58, wondering why he hadn’t listened.
William Post III
You might think that with a name like William Post III, winning the lottery wouldn’t be all that important. Post was born in Erie in Pennsylvania on the fifth of April 1939, with his mother dying when he was just eight-years-old. His father sent him to an orphanage not long after his mother’s death and when he grew older he worked numerous different jobs, including truck driving for travelling carnivals. He was not what one might refer to as a law abiding citizen, spending 28 days in jail after issuing invalid cheques.
Wins $16.2 Million
In 1988, Post bought a ticket for the Pennsylvania state lottery at a point when he had just $2.46 in his bank account. The total jackpot was more than $32 million, with Post himself winning $16.2 million. The other half of it went to a group of employees of Westinghouse Electric Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory, shared between 16 of them. Post got his all to himself and opted to take 26 annual payments of $497,953.47, spending over $300,000 on gifts and various investments, including a liquor licence and a used-car lot.
His Brother Hires a Hitman to Kill Him
Within three months of winning the lottery, he was $500,000 in debt, but within a year he had spent his next payment on a mansion in the state. A year after his win, his estranged brother paid a hitman to murder Post and his sixth wife. His hope was that he would inherit the lottery money, but the attempt failed and the brother was arrested. Post’s troubles were to grow when his landlady and sometime girlfriend at the time of the lottery win, Ann Karpik, said that they had agreed to split any winnings and a judge agreed.
Dies at Aged 66, $1 Million in Debt
In 1992, Post refused to turn over any his lottery winnings to Karmic, so the judge ordered that all lottery payments be frozen until the dispute had been resolved. Six years later and he was arrested for refusing to serve a prison sentence for a six-year-old assault. He had fired a shotgun at someone coming to collect a debt, just as he had fired his shotgun at his sixth wife’s car. By the time that he died, aged 66, he was $1 million in debt and living on food stamps. He was survived by his seventh wife and at least nine children from his first marriage.